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I believe that in the coming century our people will achieve the tranquility and prosperity it well deserves
December 31, 1999

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
- We have always been open for all those that wanted to be here and had a positive attitude towards those that wanted to be with us. - No one can ever take Kosovo away from us. - The best solution for Montenegro is the one that suits the Montenegrin people. - The West should find the courage and moral strength to face the guilt for the crimes committed in the aggression on Yugoslavia. - The West isn't capable of sending messages to the East that the East would view as mysteries it can't understand. - The fact that according to the NATO dictate we are not being financed by the IMF and the World Bank, did not prevent us from securing a set of credit arrangements with friendly countries, totaling more than the support allocated to all the neighboring countries, even though they enjoy - at least verbally - the support of the IMF, the European Union, the World Bank and America

Federal President Slobodan Miloševic agreed to an interview for "Politika" daily. In a lengthy conversation with the "Politika" Editor-in-Chief - Mr. Hadži Dragan Antic, President Miloševic replied to all the 15 questions concerning the position, the efforts and the development prospectives of our nation, as well as the standpoints related to key political issues pertaining to the present and the future.

The interview took place on Wednesday December 29th, at the presidential palace.

Will the coming millenium be a better and a more just one?

- It should be. There are numerous and undeniable facts indicating the indispensability of progress. Economic growth has been constant throughout the 20th century and it has been enveloping an increasing number of countries. Political freedom is greater than ever before in history. Science has evolved in such a way and to such an extent that it now has a decisive influence on the quality and the character of human life. Most of the illnesses that humanity has been struggling with for centuries have been curbed. The number of illiterate people is decreasing, and the percentage of people with a higher education is on the rise. To a great extent, Man has managed to tame the Nature and it often seems that in certain domains he is the master. It seems that humanity is capable of producing all it needs, even more than what is needed. Generally speaking, people have never lived better than they do today.



Obviously, the world has another face as well. The threat of war is now present all over the planet. There's no sign that the local wars might end in the near future, and the fear of a world war is rightly felt by everyone on this planet. The environment Man lives is increasingly deteriorating by his own doing and this constitutes a now threat for the survival of mankind. Poor nations, non-developed countries are still part of this world of ours and this segment of mankind is progressing very slowly towards the developed world, let alone the rich world. Aggressiveness as an attribute of the human character is still quite strong in spite of the progress Man has made in the domain of economic development, education, science, art, politics... I am an optimist, and not without cause. I believe that the positive trend which marked the 20th century will override the destructiveness which - especially towards the end of the century - has grown quite strong. To be honest, destructiveness today is not greater than it used to be, but people have now become more aware of the threat it represents. Hence, I am certain that the new century will be better and more just, provided, of course, that men manage to discern justice from injustice, good from evil, and learn to do what is needed in favor of the first and against the latter.

During the year we are about to leave behind the pressure and the attacks our country has been facing for the last ten years have culminated. What is it that the West wants?

- The West wants to seize control of the entire world. The most developed part of the global community, usually called the West, is determined to force the world around to serve its needs and interests. Rich countries want to become even richer. To do that, they need other countries to become sources of their constant and unlimited accumulation of wealth. For the time being, the most developed part of the world is rather concerted. At least it seems to be. But, along with their need for expansion, their mutual envy will grow stringer. Such rivalry might hurl the world - both the developed and the under-developed world - into a series of major, tragic conflicts, which might prove catastrophic for all mankind.

Let us hope that the developed countries will realize the threat they represent for themselves in this world of ours. Still we should hope that the rest of the world will find the strength to unite and oppose the downfall that is inevitable if we are to wait for things to be solved spontaneously. In life no solution comes about by itself. At least no major and important solution. Everyone should contribute to the shaping of a better and a more just world in the coming century.

I believe that the positive trend that marked the 20th century will override the destructiveness that - especially towards the end of the century - has grown quite strong.

The Chinese embassy in Belgrade has been bombed during the world. The Yugoslavs have grasped the meaning of it. So did the Chinese. What is your evaluation of our relations with that part of the world?

- The Chinese embassy was targeted deliberately and after serious planning. It was a message for China to the effect that in world affairs it hardly has more influence than Yugoslavia. That it might even face the fate of Yugoslavia should it fail to show obedience to the new world order. The message was addressed to China not only because it constitutes a potential threat to this order, but also because it publicly and repeatedly condemned the aggression on Yugoslavia. Naturally, the message inherent in the bombing of the Chinese embassy has been understood by the Chinese, the Yugoslavs and everyone else. The message wasn't a complicated or an ambiguous one. In fact, the West isn't capable of sending messages to the East that the East would view as mysteries it can't understand. Only the other way around might occur. That's why the Chinese have not only realized the message quickly, but gave a quick answer as well. Not only on the government level, but also on the level of ordinary people. Their reply was that they shall defend their country fiercely, that they are determined to develop rapidly and that in international relations they shall always endorse peace, equality among nations and the right of every country to shape its future autonomously...

With these stands, China is very close to Yugoslavia, but probably also to all other peoples and countries that risk facing aggression and humiliation tomorrow. Our relations with China are extremely friendly, our cooperation with China is comprehensive - economic, scientific, cultural... We plan to develop and enhance it in the spirit of common interests and benefit for both countries.

Do you think that the future of Montenegro lies within the Federal Republic?

- The best solution for Montenegro is the one that suits the Montenegrin people. If the Montenegrins believe that their life without Yugoslavia would be a better one, then they have the right to make such a choice. And vice-versa. If the people of Montenegro believe that life within Yugoslavia is the optimum choice, then they should keep it.

In that case, they must honor the rules of the game imposed by such life in common with another nation or another federal entity. First of all the Constitution that they have - obviously - adopted jointly. The Constitution can, naturally, be changed and it is good to make changes in it. We live in dynamic times and it is logical that a state is to be managed more dynamically than in the past, keeping in step with the rhythm of changes that take place.

Life in common is simple and easy for those that are determined to live together, and difficult and unpleasant for those that live together forcibly. When life together entails imposition, it is not only difficult and unpleasant, but it has no prospective.

Lessons have been learnt from the aggression on Yugoslavia. The rich and mighty - that a local war and not only a global one can be a dangerous adventure even when the enemy is considered inferior, and the poor and small and all other nations were faced with the fact that they shall continue being poor, insignificant, other, unless they choose to change it.

At the end of a century in which two big, tragic wars have been fought, and practically countless little ones, the greatest military power assaulted us, or to be more precise, newly assaulted us. What is your interpretation of this occurrence in view of the future of our country, but of the future of mankind as well?

- The aggression on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was supposed to be a lesson for all disobedient nations in the world, to make them realize that the order of things dictated from a single place must be respected. With the aggression on FR Yugoslavia international organizations have been suspended, first of all the United Nations, as the most important organization that had the task of arbitrating international conflicts and controversies. The aggression on Yugoslavia also deferred international law and initiated a process for the abolition of the sovereignty of every country - big or small - standing in the way of an order it did not help create, and that dared voice its opinion without being asked, or even dared to rebel. Our country took a stand, rebelled and hence faced retaliation.

I would like to stress in particular the major experience Yugoslavia, and particularly Serbia have in international politics, and their openness for all forms of cooperation with the immediate environment, but also with the most distant countries in the world. We have always been open for all those that wanted to be here and had a positive attitude towards those that wanted to be with us. It is characteristic of our nation. It is also our historical heritage.

But this characteristic and heritage do not include renouncing to the right to freedom and independence.

For its entire duration, the aggression kept our nation unified. Everyone knows that from the very beginning of the aggression the unity of our heroic people amazed the world. At least that part of the world which has free media, where there's no censorship and where correspondents reporting the truth and journalists commenting in favor of it (the truth) do not risk loosing their jobs. But the unity of our people faced with threats and difficulties during the war is not the only issue. It was a united, proud and enthusiastic resistance to the aggressor that was preparing to become the occupying power. It was a rare and magnificent resistance they never expected. The feeling of invincibility, superiority, obstinacy, goodness - resulted in a specific resistance, admired in the countries where the media are free, and concealed from the public in the countries where censorship and autocracy rule.

But in those countries they also hid everything else concerning Yugoslavia and themselves. First of all the truth that Yugoslavia is by no means an aggressor. That it was victim of unprovoked aggression by countries portraying as the aggressor in order to use this alleged aggression as an excuse for the war they started against it. Partially to teach a lesson, and to a greater extent to secure their interests. To seize control of the Balkans - strategically important both in the military and economic sense - and also to use this peninsula as a beachhead for taking hold of even more militarily and economically important regions - in the East: Near and Far.

Lessons have been learnt from the aggression on Yugoslavia. The rich and mighty - that a local war and not only a global one can be a dangerous adventure even when the enemy is considered inferior, and the poor and small and all other nations were faced with the fact that they shall continue being poor, insignificant, other, unless they choose to change it.

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